The shades eventually merge, amalgamating the enigmatic distinctive variations reflected and deflected so many times that the eye no longer distinguishes among them. The summarising colour, then, is one of an early sunset, if only the deflections had been risk aware, rudimentary and prolonging, of midsummer night, the lodestar prowl, and believing of the path through the path. The summarising colour, then, is a prune-like pastiche, a point-blank caricature of impending slide, a willingness to know, to let go, to evade capture without cyanide given or taken. The summarising colour, then, is a hushed violet: the clear clear violet of the blue blue bloodless sea.
For the girls outside giggle as they should, incessantly, yelling the very coincidence: ‘Suzi! Suzi!’ as sand clogs the airways of the old man above, done with love and even with lore, even as he managed to crawl along the floor, and knelt to the clap-clap of the soldiering horse hooves, signals of the zenith, of the bile, of the nadir. As night plunders on, it doesn’t stop, as it shouldn’t, their would-be, could-be futures parading haphazard like the horse once did, before it became a horse. With misery, he managed to piss dirty brown urine down onto the bedroom floor. A deprived, aching morning made traffic of the central blind, turquoises each side, guarding their purpose, from the shutdown of colours, through citrus reds and water lilacs, to honeycomb gold.
Perpetual death chants protecting the health of the destroyed seem fair enough on paper, but when the words are underlined and highlighted, with asterisks and circles; arrows, stars, hyphens, dashes, ellipses, ticks and crosses, exclamation marks, huge question marks, parentheses, currency signs, love hearts, childlike fish, dinosaurs, and ice-creams melting onto words which aren’t words, up stands the Lord Protector of the Great War of Pencil vs Pen, only to distract depression from a dangerously digital drunk. Like the cuttlefish, left out the rain is invisible, a letter in a bottle.
You’re down at Shit River with the mattress mariners, your old best friend’s mother was your one call but it’s twenty years ago. Everything is wood pigeon now but I’ll translate: she’s saying you got run over by horses, and you’ll never talk again. It’s a good job you’ve found your voice, you’ll need it, you’re in the wrong jungle, kid, this one’s full of those piranha snake things they’re on about on the news; they don’t just kill you, they, you know, paralyse you and eat you and somehow leave you with only a sense of drowning. She’s saying something about a key you once snapped in a lock.
The right side tells the left side he’s a Danger, the left side tells the right side he’s a Bore. The right side tells the left side she’s a Goddess, the left side tells the right side she’s a Whore. The right side tells the left side he’s a Vampire, the left side tells the right side he’s a Kiss. The right side tells the left side she’s a Chancer, the left side tells the right side she’s a Myth.
She said, ’Look out for the signs,’ and the girl she was talking about proceeded to stare and listen and talk intently for an hour, sure of it all in Latin, the etymology of the fabrics all the way to the automated factories, where it was going and why, sure that her knowledge was indispensable, for so long as she kept at the top of her game. She came in on the Friday wearing vintage jeans, a scarlet halter top, pink lipstick, those earrings, twirling the ends of her blonde hair as youthful blue-eyed cadences danced over talk of an under-evolved marriage and simultaneous time-bomb needs. Mistakenly, after two years sane, she returned to the psychiatrist’s on the Monday.
In the fairground flash, the highlight reel finale, it turned out that it wasn’t so easy to have nothing after all, all of that vaunted nothing, shattered the moment it came true. Just vacant debris of hurricane rush, just residual needle-dust of a raging sandstorm across a single desert road without houses, people, flora, fauna. Just a mirage horizon from a frozen winter window; a straightforward meandrous larva in its red wedding dress, placidly making its way between two faux-marble tiles, towards a crossroads.
Taxi drivers, carnivores, misfits and the rest. This is not what was planned that day under the hanging, naked bulb on the map laid out on the table in the shed. Now a slow cooker, a pork belly speciality, a feral cat under chilled roof, a lion, on a bed so comfortable and warm that hunting loses its appeal, and so springtime loses interest.
Omega’s implacable sophistry, an inverse solidarity and not even a showboating, coy, beguiling assassin either. This is the place between cotton seed and reproduction. Sounds like fun, tell me more tell me more:
Hooker boyfriends with candy shop tech and alpha-male trace stares do little much for that maybe ruined survival hunch — take your pick. Exactly where you should be, everything’s right, no matter what, right? Right, so remember, it’s inverse omertà, not inverse omega, the latter, wouldn’t make sense. Clarity’s bullet train goes by so fast that even the trainspotters themselves don’t have the tech to catch its number, and it gets you wondering why they’d even bother in the first place. But there’s people who would think that about birdwatching too, why would they bother to sit around like that all day? No idea. Maybe it’s the way that birds sing when they’re happy, dance midnight blue when it’s closing time; maybe the way they distinguish between house and home. No idea. Maybe it’s just red breasts in the snow. But omertà, on the other hand, flies the home bird against the wind while hooked up to a weather machine.
Somebody needs to do something about the kitesurfer problem at the Lagoon, by the way. Read them the rules of the game. What on earth do they think this is?
The International Airport provides a rare glimpse back into the 1986 French Open Tennis Championships, the year Becker won and became an unlikely poster boy for flowering spring-kissed madonnas with light-flowing mousey perms, and loose, teen-heat tees, spectrum fonts of obscure commercial subtleties, knotted above the waists of fraying denim thighs; blowing gum bubbles, mindful of stains on satins and silks; adults, superimpositions of eternal laughter, guzzling Burgundy like it’s June 21.
He sat side-legged on the earth taking shade from a crumbling wall, an oil-grey cloth covering all but the modesty of talon and thought, raising his right arm and wagging his index finger side to side, a gesture complemented by brow dunes so weathered it seemed that no other countenance could ever again present itself forth. Don’t worry, old fool, I’m not here to video you, the younger man thought, still immersed in the smiling ethereal exchange with the girl stencilling outside the apartment. Sensing something amiss, he stared down at the man like a dog looking up at a revolver.
Fair representation would be an unfair assessment. It was sixty times the dose, times two, times forty, plus a few. It was Lent, offshore with gale-force ocean encores. It was hyperbole and hypomania; insomnia, implosion, and outward smoke. It was reciprocation to the fashion of cheap disregard and it would therefore seem not only adequate, but willingly considerate, to capitulate. Seafaring ways, unafraid to say, provide no such great luxuries and no such great cushions for not such great hurt. Great cushions, for such sparkling jewels, to provide little or no justice to any notion of implicit understanding, implicitly understood.
Remember she said that French people were like that. Every hotel room they’d stay in they were like locusts for the free stuff, not a half finished little bottle of cloudy white bath foam withstanding. What she meant to say was exactly what she said, that it was close to home. And he could relate, he had just spent the worst part of what felt like sixty years inside a forty-degree apartment, aware of the broken air-conditioner on Day One, too-something to ask for it fixed. When the nights eventually became less stifling, and a shoulder fingernail came back black, he took the front off and cleaned its filters, drained its tube, turned it on, and lowered the room temperature by twenty-five degrees. To sit there shivering, feeling robbed of what he could have had.
The man ceased wagging his finger from side to side and began wagging it up and down. The younger man did as was asked, assuming as similar a sitting position as he could. The call to prayer came as loud as it did wailing and tinny from the cheap speaker. He reached into his pocket and answered, rambling off-radio to someone shouting back at him, dual monologues ignorant of the medium. And then it came to him, just like that, as he stood and began walking away, as she painted a final circle of rose gold petals around her central star; as the wall began to fall.
The ubiquitous Mouse move, an ingenious play to the uninitiated, goes something like this: 4 a.m. or thereabouts sure is Witcher’s Hour to the cold blue addict, the drip-feed faucet gets tightened shut and to be enclosed with her is the zoo amidst a firework show, the mauling primal hours extant only in their naked rawness, their empty weight loss and shared-flesh ruse of accomplishment. A frozen tightening, a gulp, and terror eyes, unveil the intended realisation. Walk out there to the certain end, or hold tight, to be reassured by a wild force much wiser than the heartlessness of her roots, pulling up her underwear, flatulent, sobbing salt onto a hugged polyester swim satchel, the unmistakeable eared character front and centre. You’ve seen the same movie before, of course, that last Valentine’s Day weekend. The next time you see it is in a bus, on a girl’s shirt, on the way to the airport. An overturned truck stopped traffic that day and you missed your flight to return to the slum as a four-weight champion: light-heavy, middle, light, feather. She just hitchhikes around now, town-to-town, standing at the side of the road, waiting for Agent Orange. With credits not excluding Nobel nominee, she’s grey and bruised and as effervescent as ever.
Mouse begins the queasy mass of equilibrium, the serpent coiled around the staff at Trust Pharmacy, its opposing hotel the holy name of infatuation, and everywhere cameras monitor surveillance, to the winking chagrin of the former burglar; to the gesticulating patron of the merry-go-round saints, and to the gradual combustion of the appeaser. The experiment, such is the guile of false objectivity, fails to mirror, and thus cedes any sense of longevity. Unlike the red and blue rays, neither seems likely to prevail, just as it always was and should be, waves under clear night sky.
A perfect day would be four hours in this State. Seven days, to hell with the other hundred forty. Energy abound, liberty precious, air pristine and no time to kill. Wouldn’t work for this only allows four hours a day to micro-manage.
Tendentious to raise a metal or glass object to the heavens; to maternity, to skeletons and fertility, fraternity and longevity, monogamy, and rarely to the snake. The bitter snake who teaches, among others, that the match is both lit and met, that there is no other match and no other light while the snake coils around the varnished oak coffee table. The glare when so rarely caught unaware, the giveaway moment that the snake is in fact both friend or foe. The malignant snake who teaches pure salutation.
After lengthy, lively, late-night discussion and no shortage of high-pitched giggling, the ‘No Laughing after 8 p.m.’ suggestion has been deposited in the designated box.
Karáta maintains the most memorable of airs. Held up by its own dead weight, it sags and drags and tugs down the sack carrier, sucking him into the burning bitumen, and therein he naturally disappears, recycling his redundancy into the viscous city choke, into the diseased morning incense and puff clouds of the kiln; adding his forgotten prayers to the various lavenders that burn into various chemical shampoos, he’s hot in a suit with a cigarette to match, it passes him by and he remembers her from it, and where she is now, he could guess, into the post-monsoon leaves, their dengue sludge, where slow-bedazzled children wear towelled shorts and suck bottles of feed on rusty silver tracks. Into the heaving sweat of divine procreation and the facile industry of prostitution, into the great population who fuel the apocalyptic engines; towards a certain unavoidable ending; all and more into the lingering lavender, a permeating auspice, glued within the jowls of the vaporous mantis, aided unwittingly by flies that feast on half-fresh carcasses of twitching catacomb rats.
It was wrong, his guess, she hadn’t floundered into marital graft, nor had she made a motif of assumptions built on here-say, instead succumbing to cerebral nature and the luck of its alignment with an attractiveness now a banality of sorts. It was through death and failure her humility had unveiled and she was now, so the onlooker thought, the best, most-envied of cottons, the immaculately laundered kind, the designer earth-khaki kind, the perfect match of colour and skin tone, an ensemble of health, of forward, of beauty, of art. The onlooker, herself a model of aspiration in Lycra-skin jeans, chewing gum while holding a pink leather bag in a manner to display a diamond-studded ring, had just spent the last hour conditioning her lavender-scented hair, thinking quite rightly she had all the trappings. And then there she was: without lipstick or jewels, wearing baggy hipster jeans, hair tied up, the makeshift Indian half-bandana and an upper lip casually augmented; strutting in sunglasses with the air in her wake. Her stopped-dead stare, beholden to the onlooker looking on, is a kind of halo-mouthed, sugar-frosted, wonderland.
Yellow, grenadine-laced alcoholic Kon-Tiki is a cocktail mural of a pulsating 80s disco. The widow, the spider, the slow-moving hearse and all its followers, fending the pin pricks of undetectable aliens; infinitesimal, impossible, and infinitely ubiquitous, humming cartoonish around the sleeping dog, its legs in the air, asleep, half-playing dead; veering, in swarms, forcefields of vibration, pioneering of the martyr and pincering to second guess and correct the ocean’s thought, to the mantra: repeat the feat of the oppressor, to emancipate the oppressed, repeat the fear of the oppressor, to emancipate the oppressed. But there’s no time for that anymore, for the silhouettes cast through hidden matinee-city backstreets are now determined shadows of night.